Up-cycled Decor

Editor’s Note: Evan Gorelick (Finley’s cousin) and his fiancé Katie O’Connell moved to Phoenix, AZ in 2017. Staying green in the brown desert — known for its lack of natural water — hasn’t been easy. But they’ve found ways to make it work.

Phoenix’s Melrose neighborhood is a center for vintage and antique shops, with more than a dozen in walking distance from Evan and Katie’s apartment. These stores feature a bevy of midcentury modern furniture, a style that’s making a resurgence and fits with the overall design aesthetic of the city.

Thanks to such shops, Katie and Evan’s living room set was rounded out with a refurbished midcentury chair and side table.

Buying up-cycled and repurposed furniture prevents quality materials such as hard wood from ending up in landfills. According to E-Cycle Environmental, furniture made with synthetic materials release volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde throughout their lifespan. The largest amount is released during the first two years. If you’re buying a repurposed item, most of the VOC’s have already been released.

Evan and Katie are taking other steps to reduce waste and improve air quality in their apartment. They found a local vendor called Cactus Bird that plants cacti in reused and recycled items. Shopping with Cactus Bird presents two environmental benefits. It means the planters don’t head to a landfill and the plants themselves help clean the air in their home.